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The Modern Butlers’ Journal, July 2018, Staff Training

Staff Training

by Frank Mitchell

Negligent Training

The American Hospitality and Lodging Education Institute defines “negligent training” as cases where hospitality guests, staff or 3rd party employees are harmed (physically, emotionally or psychologically) because of the behaviour of an inadequately trained employee. This includes instances where the employee was acting outside of the scope of their employment when the harm occurred.

I believe there is a parallel here for the private household manager to consider, whether this law applies or not. Any unfortunate occurrence will reflect negatively on you, on the estate, and on your principle. Staff should be trained to avoid all foreseeable harm. The importance of such training increases proportionately with the responsibilities of the staff member.

Ensure that staff are thoroughly trained in their tasks and responsibilities, especially when operating kitchen appliances, power tools, or motor vehicles. Document methodology, date, content, test and outcome of training as evidence of reasonable care in trying to minimise risk. It may not eliminate liability, but evidence of ongoing, thorough training reflects positively. Note that liability often only occurs when it can be shown that the harm occurred as a direct consequence of lack of training.

Outsource competency assessments to accredited training providers if possible. Give staff regular feedback on their performance and document discussions of concerns raised, including sexual harassment, discrimination, unsanitary food service, or irresponsible alcohol service.

In next month’s newsletter, we will look at the attributes of a good trainer.

Frank Mitchell’s background is as a private-service butler who then became a head butler at a hotel, and then a butler trainer with the Institute. While he continues to train butlers for the Institute occasionally, his focus for the last decade has been on training hotel and resort staff. He has written several well-received columns for the MBJ over the years. 


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.